Harlem Renaissance

James Langston
February 1, 1902
May 22, 1967
He was born in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1,
His parents divorced when he was a small child.
His grandparents raised him until the age of
Langston Hughes began writing poetry in the 8th
grade. After which he was selected as class poet.
Attended Columbia University, under the influence
of his father, where he studied engineering. He
dropped out with a B+ and continued his passion
of writing poetry.
He published his first poem in 1922, at age 20,
titled: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.”
One of his finest essays was published in the
Nation in 1926, entitled “The Negro Artist and the
Racial Mountain.”
His work has appeared in the NAACP publication
Crisis Magazine and in other publications.
"We younger Negro artists now intend to express
our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or
shame. If white people are pleased we are glad.
If they aren't, it doesn't matter. We know we are
beautiful. And ugly too... If colored people are
pleased we are glad. If they are not, their
displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our
temples for tomorrow, as strong as we know how
and we stand on the top of the mountain, free
within ourselves."
- “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”
We think that the quote from “The Negro Artist and
the Racial Mountain” shows that all Langston
Hughes wanted was to express himself, and he
didn't care if anybody liked the way he did it or
Through the experiences he had while traveling
the world he developed a new writing style.
He returned to Harlem in 1924, during the Harlem
Renaissance. This was a time when he work was
published frequently and his writing flourished.
In 1925 he moved to Washington D.C. Spending
much of his time in blues and jazz clubs.
"I tried to write poems like the songs they sang
on Seventh Street...(these songs) had the pulse
beat of the people who keep on going."
- Hughes
He received a B.A. Degree in 1929 from Lincoln
University in PA.
He devoted his life to writing and lecture after the
publishing of his first book in 1926.
He wrote a total of 16 books of poems, 2 novels, 3
collections of short stories, 20 plays and many
Children's Rhymes
By what sends
the white kids
I ain't sent:
I know I can't
be President.
What don't bug
them white kids
sure bugs me:
We know everybody
ain't free.
Lies written down
for white folks
ain't for us a-tall:
Liberty And Justice-Huh!-- For All?
This poem tells how things were
different for people of different
races in the 1920s. It shows how
he felt about the fact that he was
treated unequally.
This poem is very appropriate for
this point in time, and the events
currently taking place in our
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
We have interpreted the poem “Dreams”
to mean that you should never give up
on your dreams because if you do then
you have no goals to try to reach in life,
and nothing to look forward to. It also
makes life very boring.
The poem shows that one of the most
important things in his life were his
dreams. He depended on them to help
him through his hardships.
Sydney hopes that you have
enjoyed this presentation and that
you are now as inspired as she is
to read all of Langston Hughes
many works.